Night court

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 8, Reds 7; Reds 7, Pirates 5: The first game was the completion of Monday’s suspended game with all the homers. The second one was the scheduled game, played in temperatures in the 30s when most other cold weather games were cancelled. And for whatever reason it showed up on my Extra Innings package even though I’m usually blacked out from both the Reds and the Pirates. Glitch in the matrix, I assume. Still, I wasn’t much into it so I watched “Night Court” reruns. Specific shoutout to “Chrizzi’s Honor,” the 1988 episode in which my inner circle childhood crush Markie Post had a party to celebrate Prince Charles and Lady Di’s sixth wedding anniversary only to have it interrupted by a siege in which hitmen tried to kill the anglophile dude she invited to her party because he was going to serve as a witness to the mob. The entire episode couldn’t have happened if cell phones existed or if anyone knew then how twisted the Charles-Di dynamic was at the time. Outside of some “Three’s Company” episodes, I don’t think I’ve seen a more dated episode of television that I actually watched in its first run. Oh, Mike Leake hit a home run.

Marlins 11, Nationals 2: A three-run homer and five RBI for Giancarlo Stanton. The homer was an absolute moon shot off Stephen Strasburg. Marcell Ozuna had four hits and Casey McGehee had three. Quite a definitive way to break an eight game losing streak.

Rangers 5, Mariners 0: When were one of you guys gonna tell me that Kevin Kouzmanoff was still alive? All this time I’d been thinking that he was killed in a bus accident in late 2011 or something, and here he pops up with a homer and three RBI like it’s 2007 or something. Figuring this Kouzmanoff thing is a Winter Soldier situaish? People recognize him, but he has no memory of his Padres days? Metal arm, etc.? Figure that has to be it.

Cardinals 6, Brewers 1: I figure one more game like this and those “so, are the Brewers for real?” questions I get on talk radio hits will dry up.  Shelby Miller, who spent the end of 2013 on the side of milk cartons, struck out seven and allowed three hits over six innings. Mark Ellis came off the DL yesterday and then drove in two.

Royals 4, Astros 2: Yordano Ventura was totally boss, striking out seven and allowing one earned run over seven while averaging 97 on his fastball. This kid is must-see TV. Like, real Must-See TV. Not one of those lame series they tried to shoe-horn in between “Friends” and “Seinfeld” back in the day. Starring Jonathan Silverman or some b.s.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $125,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Wednesday night’s MLB games. It’s $200 to join and first prize is $20,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

White Sox 2, Red Sox 1 Xander Bogaerts one-hopped his throw to first baseman Mike Carp in the bottom of the ninth, Carp couldn’t scoop it up and Alexei Ramirez scored from second. And while there’s no guarantee he does any better with the throw, Mike Napoli would’ve been a first base in the ninth if he hadn’t dislocated his finger earlier in the game.

Blue Jays 9, Twins 3: The AP game story says that the Blue Jays knew it was “only a matter of time before they got to” Phil Hughes. Yep, them and about 28 other teams in major league baseball. The Jays put up a five-spot in the sixth and Brett Lawrie made it a laugher in the ninth with a grand slam.

Mets 9, Diamondbacks 0: The day he was called up to replace the injured Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a homer among his three hits and three RBIs and he also made a diving catch in center field. Not a bad way to debut for the year. Bronson Arroyo was touched for nine runs on ten hits in three and a third innings. Eww.

Rockies 3, Padres 2:  Juan Nicasio started off a bit shaky, but then settled down and finished with six solid innings, which the Rockies’ staff needed.

Athletics 10, Angels 9: Mike Trout hit a two-run homer to tie the game in the ninth and send it to extras but then Josh Donaldson doubled in Jed Lowrie in the bottom of the 11th for the win. Those of you who dig bullpen drama should know that Sean Doolittle blew the save for Oakland and then Jim Johnson came in and pitched two scoreless innings and got the win. The A’s have won eight of nine.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2: Hector Sanchez singled home the winning run with two outs in the 12th. He said he had to win the game because his wife and young daughter waiting in the parking lot, had been at the game for three hours and that the daughter had school this morning. Ever heard of a cab, Hector?

Rays vs. Orioles, Braves vs. Phillies, Cubs vs. Yankees, Indians vs. Tigers: POSTPONEDI waited for you winterlong. You seemed to be where I belong. It’s all illusion anyway. If things should ever turn out wrong. And all the love we have is gone It won’t be easy. On that day.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.